Authorities in China continue to harass the family of a Christian pastor who has been i sentenced to 12 years in prison. Recently the Pastor’s daughter was arrested and detained by police. Her husband and other family members believe her detainment is in attempts to keep her from testifying, as well as a form of continued harassment and intimidation.
By Cath Martin
11/6/2014 China (Christian Today)-The daughter of a pastor arrested and imprisoned in China has been detained by authorities and is believed to be held in a hotel.
Zhang Shanshan is the daughter of Pastor Zhang Shaojie, leader of the state-sanctioned Nanle County church, who was arrested in November last year and sentenced to 12 years in prison in July on charges of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order and committing fraud.
According to Release International, the imprisonment occurred on the back of a dispute between the Nanle County church and local government authorities over a plot of land they wanted the church to give up.
Pastor Zhang appealed his conviction but it was upheld in a trial that Christian Solidarity Worldwide says took place without the knowledge of his lawyers.
Now Ms Zhang’s husband says she has been detained by authorities and is being held in a hotel.
Hua CheeChuan told Sky News that Ms Zhang was taken away by unidentified men at around 11am on Wednesday while grocery shopping.
She managed to call him and shout out the hotel name where she was being held and sent a subsequent text message saying: “Nanle Hotel, help me!”
Mr Hua believes his wife is being held to stop her from speaking out about her father’s plight ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which will be attended by US President Barack Obama among other world leaders.
“They try to cover up the ugly things in the country, and they don’t want the outside world to know what is going on in China,” he said.
“So I think that’s why they’ve arrested them, and put them somewhere else.”
The US has previously called for the release of Pastor Zhang following his conviction.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at the time: “I want to express deep concern by the United States by reports that Zhang Shaojie was convicted 4 July and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in retaliation for his peaceful advocacy on behalf of his church community.
“We call on Chinese authorities to release Pastor Zhang and we urge China to cease harassment of his family members and congregants.”